University Chamber Music series presents Opera Roanoke's Das Lied von der Erde

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 24, 2008 – Virginia Tech Department of Music University Chamber Music series presents Opera Roanoke's production of Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde on Monday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. in Blacksburg's Lyric Theatre.

This Southwest Virginia premiere of Arnold Schönberg’s transcription for chamber orchestra features mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby, tenor Donald George, and Opera Roanoke’s Artistic Director Steven White conducting the Roanoke Symphony Chamber Orchestra. Opening the concert will be George Frederick Handel’s gilded vocal music performed by soprano Elizabeth Futral.

Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde or Song of the Earth is comprised of six separate independent songs inspired by a German translation of a book of Chinese poetry. Written during a tumultuous time in his life, Mahler’s masterpiece explores life, death, and renewal in the context of nature.

Conceived in 1907 and completed in 1908, Das Lied von der Erde’s composition was the first of its kind combining a song cycle and a symphony and its form was later adopted by other composers including Dmitri Shostakovich.

American mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby is in demand by opera companies and orchestras throughout the world. Her vocal timbre and insightful musicianship allow her to pursue a repertoire extending from the operas of Monteverdi and Handel to recent works by John Adams. She regularly performs the major heroines of nineteenth-century French, Italian, and German opera and the great symphonic works.

She has performed often with Chicago’s Lyric Opera and other major opera companies around the world including Seattle Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Netherlands Opera, National Theater Athens, San Francisco Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colón, among others. In addition to her performance with Opera Roanoke, this year she will be on stage with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra in both Severance Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Donald George has sung in the well-known opera houses throughout Europe including La Scala, Chatelet, Opera Bastille, Opera Capitole Toulouse, Staatsoper in Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg, and the Theatre do la Monnaie Brussels as well as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He has also appeared in such world-famous festivals as the Salzburg Festival, the Jerusalem 3000 Festival, and the London “Proms.” George is professor of voice at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York, Potsdam.

Elizabeth Futral has established herself as one of today’s major coloratura sopranos. She performs on stage with some of the most prestigious ensembles around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Berlin State Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Houston Grand Opera, Vienna’s Teater an der Wien, London Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and the Berlin Philharmonic.

Southwest Virginia's only professional opera company, Opera Roanoke presents fully staged productions and a variety of smaller-scale presentations each year. Resident in Shaftman Performance Hall at the Jefferson Center, Opera Roanoke serves a wide geographic area, including the cities of Roanoke, Salem, Lynchburg, Lexington, and Blacksburg, Martinsville, and Charlottesville.

Steven White, recently appointed to the conducting staff of the Metropolitan Opera, is the artistic director of Opera Roanoke and has conducted nearly all of the company’s productions since 1999. He is highly regarded for his inspirational leadership and musical integrity.

One of America’s most sought-after and respected conductors, Maestro White leads opera performances throughout the United States and abroad.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students and are available in advance through the University Unions and Student Activities Box Office in the Squires Student Center, at (540) 231-5615 or online and at the door one hour prior to performance time.

Convenient, free parking for the Das Lied von der Erde performance is available in nearby Squires Student Center and Shultz Dining Hall parking lots.